I love Halloween. I love the idea of dressing up as your favorite character or as one you made up with your own imagination. I love that you can be scary, pretty, ugly, funny, or silly. It is one day out of the year that you can play dress-up no matter what age you are. As we grow up too many of us give into the peer pressure from friends who think "Halloween is stupid. Dressing up is stupid." It isn't stupid - it is an amazing way to remember what is feels like to be a kid. We grow up so fast in today's world...what's so bad about one day reserved for dressing up, collecting candy from neighbors who exclaim in delight at your costume, and maybe making a little mischief?
As a child my mother taught me how to sew by helping us to make our Halloween costumes. Her mother made all of her costumes too. We would choose our costume sometime in June. Then we would buy the pattern and the fabric and spend the next 4 months putting it together. It takes a long time for 7-year old hands to sew an entire costume. But to this day I am a fantastic hand-sewer because of my forays in Halloween costume design.
My sisters and I were hard core about our costumes. In the early years we did a lot of team costumes. And by early - I mean that Becky and I were three and Sam was 8.
Snow White (Sam), Dwarf(Becky), Dwarf (Me)
Cinderella(Sam), Mouse in a dress( Becky), Mouse in a Dress (Me)
Peter Pan (Sam), Wendy (Becky), Tinkerbell (Me)
Mad Hatter(Sam), Alice (Becky), Queen of Hearts (Me)
Here's me as the Queen of Hearts...Notice how I took artistic liberty and gave myself a heart shaped mole.
I also sometimes went totally off-story and made up my own character. Two personal favorites were Dot the Clown and the always unique Pig Goblin. You don't see many Pig Goblins these days...or ever.
Our costumes always had to be kick-ass and as a result we mostly won our school's costume contests. As the years went on we got good enough that there were a few costumes thought to be too good for us to have made them, and so we were unfairly excluded from prize consideration. Becky's Merlin costume in the 8th grade and this Donald Duck Samantha made were too good to be believed.
I suppose our love for Halloween should have died out in High School but we all went to LaGuardia High School for Music and Art and Performing Arts and Halloween was not for the faint of heart. If you weren't making your costume you didn't come to school. And the Halloween Parade for best costume was always incredible. I made the scissor-hands for my friend Sara the year she won for best costume as Edward Scissorhands. I never won myself but I made a kick-ass costumes every year and so did all the guys I had gone to Junior High School with who were as hard core about Halloween was I was. My sister Becky and I have continued to dress up and find fun Halloween parties to attend all of our adult lives. High-school friends Vinny Bova and Sean Madden started a Halloween Party in NYC called the "Greatest Halloween Party Ever" a few years ago - mainly for all of us adults who refuse to let the Spirit of Halloween die. Here's some of my costumes from the past few years - it's just as fun when you're in your thirties as when you're ten, believe you me.
Heather Brown as Peg Bundy. Me as Wonder Woman Mid-Spin.
Becky as 28 Months Later - the Zombies have infected New York...
And me As the Illustrated Woman.
Becky as Werewolf Toto and me as the Apple Tree from Wizard of Oz.
Two Halloween's ago Becky, Sam, Gerald and I did a team costume. We were waiters from the Regal Beagle from Three's Company. (We won for best team costume) at Aaron Simms' Ghoulish Good Time Party. I wouldn't know it for two weeks...but I was pregnant in this photo. Which technically means that Clara was wearing a costume even then...
Which leads me to my lovely Clara and Halloween. She has no choice. She has to love Halloween. Last year she was three months old. I dressed her up as the Great Pumpkin from Charlie Brown and took her to a Halloween Party. I crocheted the pumpkin hat. I was Sally Brown and Gerald (who came home to take pictures and then had to go to work) was Linus.
This year I have gone bigger with the costume. She is going to be Patrick Starfish from Spongebob Squarepants. I made the costume myself without the benefit of a pattern. I think it looks amazing and if there was a costume contest she would win it.
It's the first year I haven't dressed up for Halloween in many, many years. But seeing my little girl dressed in a kick-ass homemade costume makes it all worth it. (That and she's totally going to let me eat her candy) I can't wait to see what costumes she comes up with in years to come...